Is making video games addictive unethical?

Posted by joe

Candy_CrushThis morning I listened to an interesting radio story about how video game makers use concepts from behavioral science to enhance games’ addictiveness (see “This Is Your Brain on Candy Crush,” NPR Morning Edition, October 9, 2014). Clearly the path to video game breakout rests in creating an addictive experience. It left me wondering about the ethics of creating addictive games. It certainly raises questions — especially when you hear how hard gaming companies work on this.

So what do you think? Are these video game makers acting unethically? What should they do differently?

Some advice for finding your career path

Posted by joe

top10Are you trying to find your career path? This Lifehacker blog post lists “Top 10 Ways to Find Your Career Path” (August 30, 2014). If you are working on a personal marketing plan or otherwise figuring out your future career, this article might be useful.  

B2B brands are telling stories to build their brands

Posted by joe

CiscoIn a world with too much advertising, more brands are looking to “storytelling” as a way to position their brands and engage customers. While many consumer brands are pretty good at this, it is more of a challenge for a B2B brands. One company that has been pretty good at this is GE. This article at TopRank‘s blog, “How to Make B2B Marketing Stories Bigger With Social Media Microcontent” (September 17, 2014) provides some advice and some examples you might find helpful in class.

Have you seen any other B2B brands that do this well? What consumer brands have you seen that tell a good, engaging story with their brand?

Are you developing the work skills you will need in 2020?

Posted by joe

How are you developing the  “10 Most Important Work Skills in 2020?” This infographic identifies six drivers of change — and the 10 skills you will need. Are you taking classes, volunteering, doing extra curricular activities, or working in ways that will foster development of these skills? Why not?

What about in a marketing class. What can marketing professors do in their classes to better foster these skills?

Five Interviewing Tips to Help You Get That Job

Posted by joe


If you are looking for a job — or writing a personal marketing plan — then it getting tips from hiring managers can be valuable. This short article on LinkedIn will give you “5 Interviewing Tips from Hiring Managers” (September 2, 2014).

If retailers were psychic, would it take all the fun out of shopping?

Posted by joe

psychic-readingsAs you may know, big data and predictive modeling are getting pretty darn good at predicting the brands or products an individual might want to buy. It is not hard to imagine a day (perhaps not not too far into the future) where retailers are so good at predicting that they know what we want or need before we do. Target stores already knows what brand of shampoo a customer buys — and that they buy it once a month. So what if they just placed an order for us and shipped it out? Would people be interested in this service?

Harvard Law professor Cass Sunstein was curious. So he commissioned a survey and asked people. He appears surprised to discover that about a third of American consumers would be comfortable with stores sending us stuff it thought we wanted. You can read the details of his study in “Shopping Made Psychic” (New York Times, August 20, 2014).

I don’t think we are too far from very accurate systems that will predict our needs and wants. What are the implications of that for retail stores? What about consumer privacy?

Seth’s Blog: Worthless (priceless)

Posted by joe

Another of Seth Godin’s interesting observations in “Worthless (priceless)” (September 11, 2014). This idea might be interesting to discuss in class when you discuss value.

What examples can you give of something priceless transformed into something worthless? What about something worthless becoming priceless?

What lessons can marketers take away from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge?

Posted by joe

We have all enjoyed the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge over the last few weeks — with their attention on social media, many of our students have seen more buckets dumped than us. But what lessons we can take away from this viral smash hit?

This article in AdAge begins to answer the question, “What [they think] Marketers Can Learn From the Ice Bucket Challenge?” (August 20, 2014). The article also offers some background and history of the Ice Bucket Challenge. One of the earliest video launching the phenomenon is shown below (see article for more details).

While the Ice Bucket Challenge has been wildly successful in helping ALS raise awareness and money — it may also be interesting to discuss how ALS might leverage this success going forward as well as what opportunities it might have missed. The article suggests an in-post donation button in Facebook might have generated even more money for ALS. What other ideas can your students think of?

“Why does movie popcorn cost so much?”

Posted by joe

moviepopcornAmerican Public Media’s Marketplace radio show recently asked (and answered) “Why does popcorn at the movies cost so much?” (August 4, 2014, you can listen or read the transcript). While I thought I knew the whole answer, I only knew half. Check if you know the whole answer – and perhaps use this as a discussion topic when you cover pricing.

Can you think of some other reasons why movie popcorn costs so much?

What majors do employers look for most?

Posted by joe

iStock_000012645257XSmallSo what are the bachelor’s degree majors most sought after by employers? This article at Yahoo! EducationMajors That Employers Look For The Most” lists and describes a “Top 10” and includes a brief description of each major and “Why Employers Love It.” Marketing made the list, coming in at #9.  Many other business majors also made this list, including finance (#1), computer and information systems (#2), accounting (#3), business administration and management (#4), management information systems (#6), and economics (#10). The ranking comes from a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) which surveyed employers and asked what degrees they were keeping an eye  out for.

You might find this article relevant if you are preparing a personal marketing plan or in business school trying to sort out your major.